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Aussie PM says timing of her China visit is deliberate


09:00, April 05, 2013

CANBERRA, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Thursday that the timing of her visit soon after the new leadership of China has entered into office is "deliberate " and reflects the importance of Australia's rapidly evolving relationship with China and its high-level political oversight of that relationship.

Gillard, speaking at the Foreign Correspondent Association, said she will be among the first Western leaders to meet the new Chinese leadership. Leading "the most senior Australian political delegation ever," she is expected to make a visit to China, her second as prime minister, during April 5 to 10.

"I'll be promoting our trade and economic interests and sharing perspectives on global and regional economic and security challenges," she said.

"By 2030 there will be more than 3 billion middle class consumers in the region to our north," Gillard said, "Thanks to the relationships and capabilities we've built over four decades, Australia is pushing on an open door as we enter the Asian Century. "

"I'm not just going to celebrate our existing strong relationship and its underpinnings. But to look ahead to how we can build the comprehensive relationship envisioned in our Asian Century White Paper, including how leaders can help deliver a relationship of greater depth and durability in a more complex future."

When asked whether Australia's long-time alliance with the United States would be affected by its enhanced relations with China, Gillard said "I don't view us as being in a position where the strong and growing relationship we have with China is somehow in contest, or in contrast, to the relationship we have with the United States of America."

She also said that Australia does not believe in a containment policy in relation to China. "That is not our outlook. That is not the outlook of the United States of America."

"What we want to see is a prosperous China, increasingly engaged in our region and in the world. We think that that is good for China, it's good for the region, it's good for the world," she said.

As for the competition from Russia and other countries in terms of providing energy to China, Gillard admitted that the competition in the energy sector is getting stronger and more acute, but she said she was confident that Australia is good in meeting the demand.

"I think we're very good now and we are always going to have to look for the innovations that make us an even better quality supplier," she said.

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